Saab to become Electric Vehicle specialist?
According to a report in industry website, just-auto, a Japanese/Chinese consortium has expressed interest in buying bankrupt Saab in order to turn it into a specialist manufacturer of electric vehicles.
The consortium is thought to include a battery manufacturer keen to expand its electric vehicle interests. The consortium adds to a list of potential bidders that currently includes Chinese company Youngman, and Indian SUV and truck manufacturer, Mahindra.
One can see why a battery manufacturer might like to have a guaranteed outlet for its products, but it looks like a pretty high-risk strategy. Nissan sold just 635 Leafs in the UK last year and Chevrolet is struggling to sell its battery-assisted extended range Volt hybrid in the USA. If the market take-up of electric vehicles is slow, then doubling the exposure by making the whole electric car as well as its battery looks, shall we say, "brave".
Just-auto reports that the receiver will close the bidding process at the end of March, with a view to making a decision by the end of April. It would be good to see Saab revived, but it is an open question as to what there is to revive. Most of the Intellectual Property in their models is owned by General Motors (GM), and any bidders would have to satisfy GM that they were an acceptable owner. The chances of any Chinese company doing that appear to be zero – GM already has a deal with SAIC of China and is never going to help a rival Chinese company.